Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 12:05 PM
I thought I would start a new thread since the other was quite OT. x
said there was likely a legal definition of software and I haven't
searched for that yet, but I did find a legal def of database at
"'database' shall mean a collection of independent works, data or
other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and
individually accessible by electronic or other means."
By this definition, would "software" be a database? It might be
interesting to see how legal def of software and database differ from
each other and from country to country.
Anyway, to get this particular thread started, my question is: What is
a precise definition fof the term "software" when used in the phrase
"software developer" and (how) does software relate to databases?
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 01:22 PM
"dawn" <dawnwolthuis (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote
and hence to any derivations from that definition. Is that your intention?
That seems rather like asking what's a nice religion that I can believe in?
On the other hand the idea of a thread that starts with some agreed
definitions is extremely novel for this group. Mostly we seem to like to
skip that bit so that we can equivocate and talk at cross-purposes for weeks
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 02:33 PM
Roy Hann wrote:
is and what a database is as I'm writing about software development.
The terms are seem too mushy when I try to capture them in the form of
will not all agree on these definitions. I just haven't found one with
which I can agree as yet.
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 03:17 PM
Are we thinking of writing legislation?
I've always liked "a database is a collection of facts." Short and
to the point.
Let's extend that to "software is a collection of instructions."
I would prefer "... a collection of functions" but that's
probably too specific. Some programming languages aren't
organized around functions. Assembly, say.
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 03:26 PM
On 3 Feb 2006 10:05:46 -0800, "dawn" <dawnwolthuis (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
me. What are "other means"? Let's stick to computers, please ...
otherwise, I'd have to accept the definition of the local public
library, anno 1952, with no computer and all its books published on
paper and bound in some heavy paper, cardboard or leather as a
"database"...managed by a stack of filing cards stored in lots of
wooden trays in cabinets located somewhere in a central area of the
main reading room.
For someone interested in intellectual property litigation, that
definition might be useful. But for most of us here, mostly database
programmers or DBA's, I think we need to make a distinction. However,
I will admit that new methods of data storage and retrieval make such
definitions pretty much a moving target, and this IMHO is just to
cover all the bases.
question: aren't ALL databases software? I think most of us here would
say yes. And software is something special to computers, at least for
all intents and purposes.
And another question: Was there software before databases? Again, I
think most people here would agree that databases, as we know them,
are a very specific application of software, albeit rich in variety
.... but there is certainly software out there which isn't database
software (e.g., Microsoft Access? <g,d,rlh> ... I'm sure there are
other examples, though ...)
not a troll, I will continue.
NoSpamPlease (AT) Home (DOT) com
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 03:56 PM
Marshall Spight wrote:
that included the abstraction of hardware or some such. I asked how
one would license such software in an effort to understand this asset.
He said there was likely a legal def of software, but I have not yet
definition I gave in my most recent blog) and database software must
work with the logical assumption of the data being accurate.
"instructions"? Yes in the sense that the "data" can be used as input
to other software, but not in the sense that it is, on its own, an
If your data contains variables or if it can only be accessed through
functions that determine its representation based in its type or other
information, is it software? Must software contain functions? You can
write classes that have no functions specified overtly, and I would
call that software, but this software doesn't run outside of some
external function. Similarly, data is not accessed outside of a
function, although it can remain in tact on secondary storage devices
with no functions operating at the time (as can software).
of 5 for the variable myNumber be data? Would a tiny Java class with
one class variable named myNumber with a value of 5 be software?
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 04:16 PM
On 3 Feb 2006 13:56:12 -0800, "dawn" <dawnwolthuis (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
"software". I think this will ultimately lead you astray. Software is
is specified to be "information that can be accessed electronically",
you are forced to make certain assupmtions about the data:
(1) It occupies an area of storage of non-zero bytes in some form of
electronic media (at least WRT computers);
(2) The format in which this data is stored can be "understood" (i.e.,
read and written) by some program in electronic form which runs under
some operating system on at least one kind of hardware and/or
(3) Programs are also data (always!) because they satisfy (1) and (2)
above. The only difference is when this data becomes an executable
program -- only because it is meaningful for the operating system on
which it is deployed under a certain specific context. If it is not
meaningful in the context of an executable program for whatever
operating system on which it is deployed, then it is just data in some
format which needs yet another program to interpret it.
NoSpamPlease (AT) Home (DOT) com
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 04:24 PM
dawn rose and spake:
ones and zeroes in such a way as to bend a thinking stone to obey his
That definition may be indistinguishable from ye lores of olden, but yet
it is the plaine truthe.
Leif Biberg Kristensen
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 05:59 PM
Bob Hairgrove wrote:
developer" which someone then pointed out would make a "data entry"
person a software developer, perhaps? Is there a distinction between a
software developer and a data entry clerk?
computers, but point taken.
Re: Definitions of Software and Database - 02-03-2006 , 06:05 PM
Bob Hairgrove wrote:
have been studying the relational model and have worked with
hierarchical, relational, and MultiValue (di-graphs of trees, if you
like) databases in my career. You can read my blog at
http://www.tincat-group.com/mewsings Cheers! --dawn